In our previous entry, we took a look at some of the jobs an elevator operator completed in their day-to-day tasks. From being a font of information for patrons in office buildings and department stores to knowing exactly when to send an elevator up or head down to the lobby, the days of manually operated elevators greatly benefited from elevator operators. They kept the elevator cab interior from falling into disarray while also ensuring that the doors opened properly and the cab itself arrived to each floor. With such a great service, why have elevator operators gone the way of the dinosaur? Kohtler Elevators loves everything involved with the elevator business, from interior and cab design to the manufacturing and set up, and today we’re going to explore a bit more of the history of elevators and what factors contributed to the elimination of elevator operators.


The most obvious culprit in the doing away with of our friendly neighborhood elevator attendants was the automation of elevator operation. In the days of manual elevator operation, while the attendants knew exactly how to handle their elevator cabs properly, there were always issues that could arise from hand-operated commercial elevators. What if someone tried to get in the cab as the doors were closing and the elevator doors did not have an automatic stop? What if a coat got stuck in the doors as the cab started to move up or down floors? Maybe a user had no idea where they needed to go and could give the operator no direction, which then made stopping at each floor a guessing game. With automatic elevator operation, there is little to no guesswork in the cab’s interior. Users could go to whatever floor they desired without having to request someone push the button for them, elevator doors utilize sensors to prevent closing on rushing patrons, but a coat stuck in the door can still pose problems. Automation of elevators, like many mechanical and technological improvements, eliminated the need for a human attendant.

Accessibility of Information

Elevator attendants used to be the encyclopedia of the cab’s interior. If someone went to a department store or an office building they had not visited prior, they may have easily become lost. An elevator operator also served as a human directory, able to guide visitors to the right floor and save time for everyone. Nowadays, this information is accessible in more convenient locations. From the lobby of most stores and offices to the innovation of the smartphone, directories and maps are easier than ever to find. Because of this, a large portion of an elevator operator’s job was quickly eliminated, as they were no longer relied upon to guide patrons and visitors. While it was helpful for the rest of us to have more access to information, the opposite could be said for elevator attendants.

Being Personable/Customer Service Shifts

While seeing a smiling and friendly face is never a bad thing, oftentimes you see people looking down or avoiding eye contact in an elevator. Operators were not only skilled at driving the elevator cab and being a resources, but were also relied on as the personable touch and a valuable customer service tool. If patrons or potential clients were greeted by a smiling face who was articulate and helpful, it set a positive tone for whatever happened once the elevator doors opened on the desired floor. As time went on, however, the elevator became an area where socializing lessened and people had no desire to be personable in a confined space. This shift eliminated the need for someone to create a happy environment as patrons were not receptive to one in an elevator cab.

Though they are oft forgotten, elevator operators and attendants were once an invaluable worker to have on your team. With advances, though, this job has slowly faded into memory. Even so, elevators aren’t going anywhere, and Kohtler Elevators is here to manufacture the finest elevators in the business. We handle everything, from elevator cab interior design to the type of doors, we can create whatever you need. Give us a call today and see how we can help with your next elevator project!